If you haven’t heard of idea marketing, perhaps it’s time for freelancers to have a refresher… and no, we’re not here to tell you to sell your ideas, but to sell the idea of you being great at what you do. Just peruse any profile on freelancing sites or LinkedIn to see that everything almost looks the same. Same words, same jargon. In a world where the next dream job is like finding a needle in heaps of haystack, you can’t risk not getting found. When potential clients see hordes of freelancers’ portfolios in black and white, do you really need to step up and sell more than just the obvious?
Why You Should Sell the Idea that You’re the Best Freelancer Around
I recently looked at random profiles of freelance graphic designers and at a glance, I’ve read mentions of software that they’re using and it’s a list of the most advanced, the latest tool for clients to see.. that I begin to wonder what’s the benefit of doing such? From versions 2,3,4…5 of a popular design platform, clients are not really interested in seeing the list of software you bought because if they are, they would have purchased it themselves. What they’re after is the idea that you can come up with stellar designs out of it, that you are the best in what you do. In the end, it’s not the skills that you sell which will matter, but the difference your skills can make. You may argue with my point here, but nonetheless, it is all about the impact you make. So, have you thought of the experience that your skills delivered today? To make my point clear, I’m making a case starting with:
Case #1 Pitching is Out, Conversation is In
A few years back, freelancers can simply send in a pitch to their prospects and hope for the fish to get hooked on the bait. Successful freelancers these days, however, know that starting a conversation is crucial in getting a person’s trust.. which will compel that person to buy what they have to offer. This is why when someone asks about your services, it’s not enough that you send the usual list of what you can do; you have to ask how you can help by probing more. Know your client’s pain points and start your talk from there. You don’t have to give ideas for free, but your enthusiasm will help them choose you instead.
Case #2 Buying is an Emotional Experience
No matter how big or small a business is, keep in mind that buying is an emotional thing, the act of investing in the idea that’s being sold. Does your freelancing skills appeal to the ‘gut’? You may feel perplexed on the last rejection you got and perhaps, you forget to make your prospects feel that they are actually doing something positive in choosing you to work on their projects. Simply, you don’t sell them the idea that you’re a freelancer, rather, you persuade them with the idea that you can change their world ( make a difference, that is ) with your expertise.
Case #3 Adapt to Survive
While you try your best to get creative with how you present your portfolio to a prospect, you have to see from his/her perspective. You may send an email, talk on the phone, do online conference.. whatever communication channel you will use, always listen to what your client has to say. You have to adapt your language to be heard, and this means that when you talk to a techie client, talk technology. Talking to a marketing manager? Talk ROI.. and so on.
Case #4 Earning Your Right to Credibility
Before someone hires you, they have to trust you. If they don’t want to hear from you, it’s because they don’t trust you. It may sound simplistic. It is not just your skills that clients are concerned about, but your track record of successful projects. Now, this may be tough for those who are just starting to freelance, but most of the time, clients want to look at your competency based on your past performance. You may list a thousand skills on your resume, but if you’re not competent enough, you might just as well be tagged as full of B.S.
Case #5 You’re Not Selling Skills. You’re Selling the Idea of Success
Keep this in mind the next time you hunt for a new project. What makes you different from freelancers with the same skills is the difference you can make ( I’ve said it again ). It all comes down to the quality of service you give and affecting positive change.
In short, it’s all about creating momentum that will push your clients to say, ‘When do we start?’ and making them hit the green light to hiring you for the task at hand. I rest my case.